In the wake of arrest of eight Taiwanese in Chauntra village of Mandi district, a team of Himachal police arrested a high-ranking lama of Karma Kagyu sect, 10th Bo Gankar Rinpoche, Karma Lobsang from Delhi on Thursday night.
Police had arrested eight Taiwan nationals in a late night raid on June 12 at an under-construction house in the village and seized Rs 3o lakh in Indian currency, 3,000 US dollars and SIM cards of Indian telecom operators from the house reportedly owned by Gankar Rinpoche.
The Taiwanese, in the age group of 25-40 and holding tourist visas, were arrested on charge of illegal stay in Himachal and working as carpenters and painters and not reporting to district foreign registration office.
A case under Sections 379 (theft) and 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) of the Indian Penal Code was registered against the Taiwanese as also under Essential Commodities Act, Excise Act, Income Tax Act and Foreigners Act.
The Taiwanese are currently in three-day police custody and would be produced in court on Saturday.
Officials of Intelligence Bureau and R&AW have already reached Jogindernagar for their interrogation along with an interpreter of Mandarin and Taiwanese language.
Meanwhile, police is also searching for a Tibetan woman named Palaki Dolma in the case, who allegedly absconded before the raid was conducted.
Sources told Hindustan Times that the police were questioning Gankar Rinpoche over the presence of Taiwanese at his house and unaccounted cash seized.
Initial reports had said that the arrested persons were Chinese nationals and could be spies but later police refused to stand by the spy theory.
Sources said that the arrested Taiwanese were volunteers who came to India to assist in the construction of house as Gankar Rinpoche has a large following in Taiwan.
Who is Gankar Rinpoche?
The 10th Bo Gangkar Rinpoche, Karma Lobsang Bhutia was born in Sikikim. He was identified as reincarnation of 9th Gankar Rinpoche by Kenting Tai Situpa, mentor of 17th Karmapa, Ogeyn Trinley Dorje.
He was enthroned in 1999 by Tai Situpa who heads the Palpung Sherabling monastery in Kangra. Gankar Rinpoche had visited Taiwan in 2005.